Saturday, February 28, 2009

Cozy Cupboard

Early yesterday afternoon, I took a quick run over to my friend, Melody's, fabulous antique consignment shop. It's been a while since I've visited with her and the shop is one of those places I gravitate toward when I need a little pick-me-up. Mel had gotten some terrific new things in and was trying to find room in her cozy retail space. One of the things she no longer had need for was this terrific cupboard, with oodles of compartments, so I took it off her hands for a song! A few months ago, I had bought 5 rolls of beautiful black & white drawer liner paper (on the clearance rack, at T J Max, for $1/ each) and decided I would line the back of each compartment with the paper. Of course, I couldn't stop there once I saw how great it looked. I did the sides of the piece as well and was so pleased with the final outcome. Picture #1 shows the beginning, picture #2 shows the finished project and picture #3 shows...WAIT...#3 looks the same as #1??? How can that be? Well, for some unknown reason, the wallpaper paste didn't hold the paper to the cabinet. One by one, the squares I had painstakingly measured, cut & pasted in each cubby, began to peel off. So, for now, this piece stays "as is". UGH!
***I apologize for the eye strain the color of the (above) font may have caused. As soon as I published the post, I realized it was too light. I spent 1/2 hour trying to change the color, but I must be experiencing the return of the Blogger poltergeist. I tried, every way I could think of, to switch it and have finally given up. I'll steer clear of that lovely aqua blue from now on!

MY Friendship Momento

This is my version of Monica's "Friendship Momento". I couldn't find heart forms anywhere, so I used a standard wreath styrofoam form. I followed, as best I could, her voila! What makes mine a special, to me, is the vintage lace ribbon tied at the top, which was part of an antique wedding gown piece sent to me from...Monica! I realized, after I took the pictures, that I still have some cleaning of the glue gun "cobwebs" to take care of. OOPS :-)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

More of my Favorite Things...

Several times, I have mentioned my former employer starting me off, collecting antique porcelain teacups & saucers. During one of my photography practice sessions, I took some pictures of my china cupboard, which was also given to me by my former boss. I can't say I have an "eye" for collecting just yet. I know what I find aesthetically pleasing and, since that varies quite a bit, my trove is eclectic. The beautiful teapot, from Monica, is perfectly at home amongst my pink teacup sets. Some of my basket projects have found their way to the top of the cupboard.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bits & Bobs Jewelry Give-Away

Spring surely must be right around the corner, because I have that distinctive itch to organize & de-clutter. Even after my wonderful swap, with Monica, I have more bits & pieces of beautiful jewelry than one person needs or can use for crafty projects. So ladies, you know the routine: please leave a comment, if you are interested in being entered, and I will have my son pick the winner on Tuesday, March 3. The photograph contains just a portion of what the give-away package will include...I'm still sorting :-)
I hope she won't mind, but I am borrowing an idea from Theresa (Time Worn Interiors). If you are thoughtful enough to mention my give-away, on your blog, your name will be entered twice.

Blog Inspirations

On a daily basis, I'm amazed at the impact this community is having on my life: in both significant and not-so-significant ways :-) For example, one of the bloggers I follow (and I can't, for the life of me, remember who it is at the moment), has featured unique decorating ideas with cloche(s???) she has collected. Before I began blogging, I couldn't tell you what a cloche was...let alone what would do/ use it for. Today, I had to drop off some clothing at Sally's (a.k.a. Salvation Army), so I took a few minutes to peruse their housewares section. Lo and behold, what should I come across, but a small cloche. It was sitting alone, but for $.50, I figured I must have a stand/ plate upon which to rest it. I did and one of the lovely roses, from my swap with Monica, is the perfect trinket to display inside. It looks very pretty perched on a vintage lace tablecloth from my mom, surrounded by black & white family photographs.

Use What You Have...Love What You Use

I hope Nancy (Fete et Fleur) doesn't mind that I borrowed her post title from a few days ago, with an addendum. Her post reminded me to be creative with some of the lovely treasures I have hidden away because they aren't items I would use on a daily basis. If I love them, though, why should they be tucked in a drawer and brought out only once or twice a year. She inspired me to 1.) do a bit of digging/ organizing and 2.) think outside the box for ways to display various pieces. Thank you Nancy!
My digging also made me realize how many beautiful trinkets I have, that simply go unnoticed...because they've become part of the scenery. It's kind of like the background noise, of the t.v....right now that would be "SpongeBob SquarePants" and my kids left for school 1/2 hour ago :-)
There I on another tangent. Nancy's post prompted me to practice my photography skills on some of my most loved treasures. My Nana used to collect Rose Medallion, Chinese porcelain. Growing up, I never paid much attention to anything my Nana collected, as it was all so "old". Fortunately, when she passed away, my mom dividing up some of Nana's Rose Medallion pieces and put it away for my sister-in-law and myself. After my former boss started my collection of (mostly English) porcelain, my mom gave me the Rose Medallion. I have since added bits and pieces, to the family heirlooms, and they are all housed in a corner cupboard I found, abandoned on the side of the road. After adding some side moulding & corner pieces and repainting the cupboard, it was the perfect place for my Rose Medallion!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Persistence Pays Off

Thank you to everyone who has been encouraging me to continue practicing my photography skills. I've received so many helpful hints, the best of which seems to be: take advantage of natural light. It truly makes all the difference in the world. I was practicing, first thing this morning, with some of my favorite pieces of jewelry. That was another great tip: focus on things you love :-) The individual pictures came out much better, but I really love using Picasa to make collages. Maybe it's cheating...just a bit....but at least the subject matter is more recognizable that my first attempts. I love the combination of turquoise & bronze and white, cream & rhinestones are always so elegant!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Proper Tea Party

More significance of the teapot from Monica:
My former boss got me hooked on collecting porcelain teacups, several years ago. Even for a Brit, her collection is vast and highly impressive. She gave me my first pieces: a gorgeous, vintage Aynsley cup & saucer. Slowly, I have been adding to my collection.
My daughter, who typically has no interest in "girly" things, has recently been begging me to have a proper tea party. We were all set to do so one day, but she called an abrupt halt and pointed out that I didn't have a "proper" teapot with which to have our soiree. Such a stickler for details, she refused to go forth until we had all of the necessary components.
Tonight, we were able to have our first Mommy/ daughter tea party, thanks to Monica! I only wish she could have joined us. I'm certain our fancy British accents would have tickled her to no end. The white bits you see, peaking out from under the teapot, is a "doily" my daughter made and insisted we use: a paper snowflake cut-out, actually. Clever girl!

The Most Wonderful Surprise

The easiest way for me to write this post is to copy the email I sent to my sister yesterday. The rest is self-explanatory!
"I'm going to wait a day or two before I blog about this....just so it doesn't seem like I'm running a Monica Fan Club. Mind you, I haven't shared 1/4 of the things she sent me from our swap. There were 2 packages jammed with Italian goodies (magazines, pages from antique books, vintage stamps, etc.). Yesterday there was a slip from the post office in my mailbox, letting me know I had to pick up a piece of registered mail. Of course I'm thinking: Now WHAT? I didn't even notice that it said 'Italy' in a tiny box on the slip. Backtrack a minute....when Monica got the package I sent her, she emailed me right away, but said she needed to brew a pot of tea before she opened it (I think I blogged about that). I had written her back, saying I'd wished I was there to join her in a cup of tea while she opened her goodies. Okay....back to today :-) The lady at the post office hands me this big box and I immediately recognized Monica's handwriting. There was a card inside that said: 'You said you would have liked to have tea with you can! Love and Hugs~ Monica'. I'm attaching some pictures of what she sent me...handpainted by her. I just can't believe how sweet she is! And I SO needed a good surprise today!

Your Couture

I love Audrey Hepburn. It's that simple...I just love her! Her classic, yet unconventional beauty...her timeless grace...her quirky mannerisms...she just fascinates me. When I worked at "the shop", I would continually use Ms. Hepburn's style as an example of the basic foundation of a "good" wardrobe. Get back to the basics and work from there: a pair of black slacks (capris, wide-leg, Bermuda shorts...whatever suits your fancy & body type) paired with a black top (turtleneck, blouse, short-sleeved, tank). From there, anything goes in putting together a look that works for you.
~ballet flats & pearls...and you're off to a P.T.O. meeting.
~a chunky, brightly colored beaded necklace, an over-sized straw tote bag & a pair of funky sandals...lunch/ shopping with the girls.
~classic, black pumps, a tailored jacket & a lovely silk scarf...a day at the office or an important interview.
~the highest heels you dare to wear, huge dangle earrings, bright red lipstick & a handbag with a bit of bling...a night on the town.
~rhinestone accessories, a silver evening bag & strappy sandals...the company Christmas party.
~a baseball cap & comfy mom with a touch of class!
It's all about 1.) knowing your body & choosing clothes that fit properly, 2.) accepting your body as it is...not as it was (back in 1986) or how you wish it would be (after you "commit" to the fad diet du jour, 3.)building a wardrobe based on simple, classic foundation pieces (preferably ones that won't go in and & out of style by next year) and....4.) accessorizing! This is where your personality comes shining through. You don't have to spend a lot to completely change the look of a basic ensemble. Get creative...fasten a pair of vintage clip-on earrings to a pair of flats, use your favorite pin/ earring to hold a scarf in place, tie a silk scarf to the strap of your simple, black handbag, transform a brooch into a pendant by popping it on a simple gold/ silver chain. Have fun and think Audrey :-)
***"Your Couture" is the name of my small business that was an off-shoot of my experience working in retail. I go into women's home and help them sort through/ purge their existing wardrobes. From there, we work with what they have to rebuild & revamp.